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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

LS polls: Firing shatters peaceful polling in Srinagar

Toufiq Rashid, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, May 01, 2014
First Published: 08:35 IST(1/5/2014) | Last Updated: 12:04 IST(1/5/2014)

A day of peaceful polling in the prestigious Srinagar constituency ended in bloodshed again. Twenty four year old, Bashir Ahmad Bhat was killed after security forces opened fire on a group of stone pelting youth in Srinagar’s old city Nawakadal area. The death was confirmed by Srinagar-based police spokesperson, who refused to give more details.

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Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency recorded 26% turnout on Wednesday, almost the same as 25.55% in 2009.

Disclosing this at a press conference here, chief electoral officer (CEO) Umang Narula said 11.46% votes were cast in Srinagar, 39.5% in Budgam and 45.61% in Ganderbal districts, and figures of exact polling are being received from different areas of these districts, which would subsequently add up the final poll percentage.

He said around 2,500 migrant voters also exercised their franchise in special polling booths set up in Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi.

The CEO said that as many as 1,546 polling stations were set up across the parliamentary constituency, which included 233 critical polling stations and 1,021 were hypersensitive.

He also said that web casting was done in as many as 44 booths, besides 15 digital as well as 51 video cameras were installed for covering the voting process.

Although most polling stations in the capital did not witness long queues like those in the semi-urban Budgam and Ganderbal areas of the constituency, a few booths witnessed voters coming in small groups.

However, in old Srinagar and some civil lines areas, where the separatist sentiment is the strongest, a majority of the polling booths have recorded either no voting at all or just one or two votes after three hours of polling that started at 7am.

According to eyewitnesses, a group of youth pelting stones were injured after paramilitary forces opened fire in Nawakadal area in old city in Srinagar.

In a late evening press release, police said the incident occurred after “miscreants tried to snatch weapons of a police party”.

“In the evening, after the polling was over, a party of security forces came under severe attack by some miscreants in Nawakadal area jurisdiction of Safakadal police station in Srinagar.

They snatched the weapon of a security force personnel. In the ensuing scuffle, two persons; identified as Bashir Ahmed Bhat, son of Ghulam Hassan Bhat, a resident of Gratbal Nawakadal, and Nazir Ahmed Kaloo, a resident of Nawakadal, got injured.

Bashir later on succumbed to his injuries, while Kaloo sustained injuries in his arm and is out of danger,” the police statement read. The killing has been condemned across by both mainstream and separatist camps.

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